Sunday, July 26, 2009

Amy Breeman-Rhodes Fundraising Page

Amy Breeman-Rhodes Fundraising Page

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Virtual Assistants - something Moms and Dads can do

One of the things we all as parents want at the end of the day is more time. Most of us on an average day get up, drive in our cars, go to work our 8 to 5 and drive home, fix dinner get the kids ready for bed, and BAM it is 9 pm! I think if most of us had a choice, we want more flexiblity with our work/personal time. Once such career that can offer that is being a virtual assistant.

A typical work day would be get up in the morning, get your morning coffee, take the kids to school, come back home, drink more coffee, turn your computer, and you are at work. Making phone calls, writing memos, research marketing ideas, web surfing for addresses and phone numbers, do legal research, come up with some spreadsheets, write an article and even write a book. These are just a few things virtual assistants can do, all in their homes.

I am researching on doing this same type of activity on my own. I am scoping out websites like guru.com and elance.com, looking for projects that could be interesting to me. How about working 5 hours a week just doing some web site research for government forms and putting your findings on a spreadsheet? How about writing a blog for someone, or writing an article for a mazagine. And for something more challenging, how about testing products for a cosmetic company. All of these kind of jobs can be found on a virtual basis.

Of course, once you jump into doing project jobs, you first of all, keep up the hours and try to find work week in and week out. After all, you have to still earn money even after one project is over. Second, you are now a sole proprietor and do this work on your own. Being a sole proprietor means paying self-employment tax, keeping financial records like receipts and invoices. Third, you might think about forming a company and operate under that name when dealing with clients. That can be a project in itself in finding out about which business structure is best for you.

So, being flexible with work and personal time is a big motivator for me to look into possible venture. Even if I have a full-time or part-time job, this would be an excellent way to earn some extra money, and possibly fund my children's education. If you happen to have a virtual assistant job, I welcome your experiences working as one, and if there are any pitfalls one needs to be aware.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Stories of Journeys – For Children and Adults

I had recently just read a delightful little book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho about a young man’s journey from Andalusia Spain to the Pyramids of Egypt. It was centered on the mission of this young man’s search for his Personal Legend, or his personal accomplishment,

“Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend.”

How enlightening this can be for us adults, and parents, to see with the eyes of a child. Yet, we reason like a “grown up” when we see our life options as obstacles to our dreams. How many of us have given up on our dreams or accomplishments because of the cards that we are dealt in life. Didn’t finish your degree? Did not take that trip you have always wanted to do? Didn’t make that phone call to that loved one? This is all part of the journey of life, all on the road to accomplishment. Much like the Aesop’s Fable of the fox and grapes, after the effort of trying so hard to obtain those sweet, nurturing grapes, the fox gives up saying that they are sour. But do those dreams go away? We long for those sweet grapes, but because it is so hard to get them, we just give up thinking that they are just a bad idea.

I have read the Wizard of Oz to my daughter (not the red ruby slippers, but the silver shoes). Dorothy had the on-going desire of returning back to Kansas, and along the way made some friends with their own desires, and everyone encounters obstacles along the way, all seeking for the Wizard, who would make their dreams come true. But in the journey itself, they realized, at the end, that they had what they were seeking the whole time. The journey was the confirmation of their desires, and despite the odds and fears, they were able to find out for themselves that anything can be done.

So, we need to think like a child, and take our life’s journey as a child...” "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.,” As Jesus said in Luke, we need to look to God without our pride, fears and “grown up” reasoning and pursue what is pure and just. We all need to pursue our longings and treasures in life, and seeking, God willing, is all part of our journey.

“Follow the Yellow Brick Road!"

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Managing insecurities of our children - that's how they grow

On this wonderful 4th of July day, our family had the excellent opportunity to go do what families typically do on 4th of July: We had a picnic and saw fireworks. Of course, this was all done with the permission of our children. They were looking forward to all of the events of the day and were excited to have the option to do those thing. Like always, sometimes this does not always go as planned, at least how we, as parents, think it would.

As our family was wrapping up our exursion to the playgroud and park for a lovely shaded picnic, my oldest was running with excitement to our car and fell and skinned her knee. How typical, I think, but my 5 year-old is crying, making it a huge crisis. "B-B-Blood!!" coming from my wanna be doctor. She was crying all the way to the car, wanting to be carried due to the stinging sensation of her knee. Then she goes on to say "My friends will make fun of me!" and later, "None of the boys will marry me!" She was not only crying because of the knee, but worried how a skinned knee would ruin her young reputation. I then showed her my scars from years of falling off bikes and running into things. Somehow it did not convince her that it was all part of being a human being - that we do get scars. When we got home, she got into bed and we all watched a little bit of Toy Story. I think me being with her in those few minutes calmed her down a bit. Maybe next time she gets a skinned knee, she won't cry as much and see that even her friends, especially those boys, gets them.

And, down to the fireworks we go later in the day. My youngest was so enthusiastic to see the fireworks, perhaps the first real display she has seen in her young 2 year old life. We got to the park in Vienna early enough, about an hour, before the display began. Both girls were so excited. The crowds were coming in, and the girls were nestling in with blankets as the evening got cooler. Then at 9:15 the firworks began. My oldest was sitting on her father's lap, saying "Wow," while my youngest was on my lap cluching onto me for dear life. She was not happy about the experience. She covered her eyes, then shuttered at the sound of the pops. She would not let go of me during the 30 minute show. I was trying to comfort her, but I was thinking she would get used to the sounds and see that the crowds were enjoying the views. But all of this did not convince my youngest at all. She clinged to my neck the whole time in fear. I am hoping that next time, when she is 3, that this would not be such a terrifying experience and see that this is just how fireworks sound and look.

We can all hope, as parents, that every experience our child has, good or bad, and make them see that this is what happens in our lives and we will all have to chuck up the experience as a guide to our next dilemma. These experiences will give us more confidence to deal with next issue we face, and then the insecurity would soon diminish. At least, we hope little by little.